It was way back in 1988, during my first year at University, that I created a character called ‘Chlorophyll’ and the strange little marshmallow people who inhabit the world in which he lives.  Our world, I should say.  Which means that those strange little people must be … Us!

As his name and green colour suggest, ‘Chlorophyll’ represents the voice of Mother Nature – in the broadest possible sense of the concept.

Environmental awareness has always been relevant, but it wasn’t the hot topic back then as it has become now.  No Al Gore making documentaries about ‘inconvenient’ truths either.  This meant that ‘Chlorophyll’ was never going to find a home on the funny pages of any mainstream newspaper as it was always more observational than funny ‘ha–ha’.

Instead, I researched the magazine market and short listed a number of possible homes for the strip.  Acceptance came in the form of a letter from the editor of the slightly obscure ‘New Internationalist’.  It was a magazine I had never heard of before, but I was as excited as if the Sun newspaper had just commissioned the strip for daily use.  This would prove to be the first time ever that I saw my work in print (outside of the University magazine!).

As it happens, the team who ran the magazine were very nice people and I had the pleasure of meeting them all in their offices in Oxford some time after that.  ‘Chlorophyll’ appeared in the New Internationalist every month for a couple of years, after which time the editor decided the magazine needed a change. 

No hard feelings on my part.  I just hope they remembered to recycle all the work I had sent in . . .

Alexander Bar

Published - New Scientist - September 1996